Byline: TONY PE. RIMANDO
In an unprecedented move, the Department of Education (DepEd) has adopted starting schoolyear 2004-2005 a new policy on the evaluation, development, and procurement of textbooks for use in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.
The novel policy, initiated by Education Secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus in coordination with the National Book Development Board (NBDB), seeks to resolve many issues and problems which have plagued the textbook situation in the DepEd for many years.
It also seeks to make textbook quality more responsive to the academic needs and requirements of some 17 million students in DepEds 37,000 elementary and 5,000 high schools.
De Jesus, in a memorandum, said that, henceforth, the agency "shall observe a textbook evaluation process that includes the expert judgment of accredited academicians, educators, and textbook and curriculum experts."
The memorandum said the evaluation procedure shall protect the identities of the expert evaluators while making the results of their evaluation wholly transparent to all interested parties.
According to the memorandum, the DepEd, in collaboration with the NBDB, shall provide the textbook industry with a "DepEd Manual of Textbook Style and Standards" which will indicate, among other things, "General Technical Standards" (size, paper stock, cover stock, and preferred binding), "Cover Specifications (use of logos, fonts, font size, general layout, and qualifiers), and "Print Specifications" (font types, font sizes, suitable per grade level).
The DepEd, the memorandum said, will also publish a list of sight words appropriate to specific grade or year levels in both English and Filipino to guide textbook writers.
De Jesus stressed that for the DepEds new textbook procurement system, appropriate measures will be taken to allow enough flexibility and widest range of participation by private textbook publishers.
His memorandum stipulated that textbooks by subject shall be purchased for the entire student population for public elementary and secondary schools "every five years" following a published schedule. …